Wokingham Borough Council children’s services continue their progress towards providing the best possible services for children, young people and families. And today (November 8), Ofsted once again acknowledged the borough council for its ability to sustain and consolidate improvements and maintain good performance.
The council is rated as ‘performing well’ in the government’s children’s services assessment published today. The report notes that: ‘[the council’s] provision helps children and young people stay safe and learn well’.
The substantial improvement made by the council in helping children and young people to stay safe, which was praised in December 2010, has been sustained, and there have been further improvements over the past year. The report also points to consistently high performance across many areas.
Andy Couldrick, strategic director, service delivery for people, said: "Wokingham Borough is unique, nationally, in the progress it has made and then sustained. In 2009, our children’s services were judged to be performing poorly. By 2010, the substantial improvements we had made resulted in a judgement of performing well, an increase of two grades. In 2011, we have retained this judgement for a second year, which is a further achievement, and clearly demonstrates the authority’s ability to sustain and consolidate its improvements. We could not have done this without the continuing commitment and hard work of our staff and partners, coupled with the support of colleagues across the council and the leadership shown by the borough’s councillors."
Cllr Julian McGhee-Sumner, executive member for health and well-being, said: "Wokingham Borough Council took decisive action to bring about improvements where they were needed, and once the improvements were achieved, we continued to take action to ensure that those improvements were sustained. To have achieved such an initial improvement was tremendous, but to maintain it and see yet further improvements is even more encouraging. I would like to pay particular tribute to the leadership team within children’s services, all their staff, and all those across the borough who have contributed to maintaining our status as a performing-well authority."
Cllr Rob Stanton, executive member for education services, added: "It is a real achievement and shows that the hard work and determination everyone has put in has put the authority on a very solid footing,as we continue to strive in our aim to make Wokingham Borough the best place in the country to grow up."
The children’s services assessment highlighted other key strengths including:
Standards of provision across all age ranges are high, with the large majority of schools and settings continuing to be good or better.
Significant improvements in standards across the Early Years Foundation Stage.
National test and examination results for 11 and 16-year-olds have been consistently above average for a number of years.
Continuing improvements in the achievement of qualifications by the age of 19, and participation in education, training and work remains above average.
A stable and well‑trained workforce in place, delivering services to children and their families in a timely way.
Excellent provision across a number of services – the local authority’s children’s home has been outstanding for many years, fostering services are good, and the adoption service is good with outstanding features.
Andy Couldrick added: "We are, of course, extremely pleased with the outcome of this latest assessment, but we are not complacent. We know that we have more work to do to target our services to our borough’s most vulnerable children, young people and families, and to narrow the gap between the outcomes for those vulnerable young people and their peers in Wokingham Borough who generally do so well. Hard work over the past two years has brought about the much needed improvements, and ensured they have been sustained. This now gives us an extremely strong foundation from which to build further, so that we can provide excellent services for the children, young people and families in the Wokingham Borough."